Monday, February 28, 2005


John Ray over at Socialized Medicine has an interesting piece on a young British girl:

The b*******s just don't care. A little girl had to go to America to get a false British diagnosis overturned

From the time Tilly Merrell was a year old, doctors told her family she would never have a normal life -- or even a normal meal. British doctors found that the food she swallowed went into her lungs instead of her stomach, causing devastating lung infections. They said she had isolated bulbar palsy, and their solution was to feed her through a stomach tube. Forever. But having a backpack with a food pump wired to her stomach wasn't much of a life for a girl whose favorite smell is bacon frying -- a girl who once broke through a locked kitchen door in an effort to sneak some cheese. So her family got help from their community of Warndon, about 120 miles north of London, raising enough money to take Tilly, now 8, on a 5,000-mile journey they hoped might change her life, a journey to Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University.

Doctors at Packard were intrigued that she had no neurological symptoms often associated with the palsy. In all other ways, she was a normal child with a mischievous smile and a truckload of energy. After seeing her Feb. 7, they ran three tests and found out what was wrong with her. Nothing. She had infections, certainly, but they were long gone. And when she swallowed something, it went into her stomach, not her lungs.

Until this month, Tilly often had to go off into another room with her PlayStation during family meals. She would always try to sneak morsels of food, not fully understanding the British doctors' warnings about how much harm they could cause. "Christmastime was the worst," said Tilly's grandmother, Sonia Merrell. "She couldn't eat or drink with us. She used to think we were horrible." Having Tilly go through that for the rest of her life wasn't something that her grandmother was ready to accept. After five years of searching the Internet, Sonia Merrell found a story about how a girl with a similar condition was trying to get treated at Packard....

So Tilly, 13-year-old sister Megan, Amelia, Sonia and grandfather Trevor Merrell got on a plane Feb. 5. Two days later, they were seeing Dr. Kenneth Cox, Packard's chief medical officer and its chief of pediatric gastroenterology. "I felt a little bit of anxiousness when they arrived," he said. "I wondered if there was something I didn't know."

After all, England is not exactly a backward nation when it comes to medicine. Tilly had several cases of severe pneumonia as a baby, and her mother said that doctors in the socialized British system clung to the palsy diagnosis....

Once he met with the family, Cox arranged three tests. Dr. Peter Koltai examined the back of Tilly's throat, looking for evidence that she couldn't swallow properly. Dr. Jin Hahn checked to see if she had any neurological problems. Tilly also needed a modified barium swallow, which allowed occupational therapist Marianna Thorn to track whether food was going into her stomach or lungs. "It showed that Tilly had some very enlarged tonsils," Thorn said, "but nothing that told us she would aspirate on food."

More here. (This post also appears on Blogger News)


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL hospitals and health insurance schemes should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the very poor and minimal regulation.

I agree, John.

Yes, but the British National Health Service is so ingrained in your society. Socialism pervades every fabric of commerce in the U.K.

There has to be a radical approach to privatization from healthcare and welfare systems to government and taxation.

Then and only then will tragedies like this be avoided and the Underground might run on time.

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